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2014 Travel Goals

One of my favorite parts about the beginning of the year is setting goals. Resolutions seem like a severe declaration against my innate behavior, but goals challenge me to be better and help me break out of my comfort zone. My goals fill numerous categories of personal, professional, financial, health, but most importantly TRAVEL goals. I always save them for last because they are the reward at the end of my goal setting.

Here are my 4 travel goals for 2014:

Improve My Travel Photography

When I first began traveling, photography was never my strong suit. I was more caught up in experiencing the food, culture and sights than capturing them. It was not until I had returned from my destination that I realized I wanted a better glimpse into my trip. I wanted to visually show people how good the food looked, how vibrant the culture felt, how incredible the architecture was. I wanted to relive the memories myself by bringing the photos to life. Off-centered, blurry shots did not conjure up positive images. While I do not expect to become a professional photographer overnight, more awareness is the first step and I want to pay more attention to my subjects, the lighting and the images I capture.

Take 12 Trips

While my Take 12 Trips officially started back in November with a trip to Portland, I will be continuing the challenge throughout 2014 with a trip each month, combining local destinations with travel abroad. It is a fantastic way to make sure I keep my travel perpetual and continue to explore new and old places alike. It also means I never have to wait too long for the next trip!

One of my #take12trips involves a return to the City of Light

One of my #take12trips involves a return to the City of Light

Travel to One New US State and One New Country

This is an ongoing goal that I have been challenging myself to complete since my early 20s. In 2013, I added Tennessee and Hungary to my places traveled and 2012 saw great experiences in Louisiana and Ireland. It is a nice way to ensure that I get to see a new part of my country and a new part of the world each year.

Take a Spontaneous Trip

As a natural born planner, I love the time leading up to my trip when I can research and plan, picture myself in the destination and get incredibly excited. And while I love planning ahead for the perks of early bird deals, nicely timed flights and well located hotels, what I have been longing for recently is a SPONTANEOUS trip. My parents most likely have their jaws on the table reading this because I was the five year old (and twenty-five year old) asking them if they had booked flights for our family vacation yet. I am always ready to get the big-ticket items booked and the vacation time secured before anything gets in the way. I ALMOST booked a last minute weekend trip to Chicago last fall when I found incredible flights. Why didn’t I do it? Because I had not processed the information long enough and did not act on it fast enough. So this year I am aiming to book a trip where I leave within the month and it would preferably involve a flight.

Where should I go?

Where should I go?

Where will these goals take me in 2014? As part of the Take 12 Trips Challenge, there promises to be at least 12 places to visit this year, but those have not all been decided yet. My January trip was supposed to be to New York City to visit my college roommates this weekend, but as I write this about 14 inches of snow have stranded me in my apartment. My friends in New York are experiencing similar conditions so it has been postponed. Hopefully, it will be rescheduled before the end of the month, but if not I may be looking for a spontaneous trip!

Here are some of my travel trends for the year:

Traveling with Friends

In the end of February / beginning of March, I will be heading to a top wanderlist destination of Austin, Texas with my high school friends. While it may shock many people, I have never been to Texas and this will be a new state for 2014. Live music, an up-and-coming food scene and an independent vibe will have me promising to help “Keep Austin Weird.”

Summer in New England is largely about local travel for me. With the warm weather, close proximity to local beaches and plentiful fresh seafood, there is nowhere I would rather be. While I have my favorites that make it into the rotation every summer, I am hoping to add an important destination this year, Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park. Another top wanderlist destination, I will not let another year pass without making it there with friends!

Acadia National Park - Photo Credit: Joanie Whalen

Acadia National Park – Photo Credit: Joanie Whalen

Cashing in Some “Presents”

Remember when I said that trips are better than presents? Well thankfully many people were listening (or reading my blog) and I have a good number of trips to cash in with very important people. First up is a trip to Paris in May with my mom and grandmother to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday. Unlike my first trip to Paris over five years ago, which involved a short weekend packed with touristy things, this time we are renting an apartment, staying for a week and soaking up the culture.

Lovely Christmas gift from my grandmother as a reminder of our upcoming trip

Lovely Christmas gift from my grandmother as a reminder of our upcoming trip

My brother surprised me this Christmas with an overnight in Stockbridge, MA, located in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. A picturesque part of the state, this historic small-town has been mentioned in James Taylor songs, but is also famous for housing the Norman Rockwell Museum, which I intend on visiting. The only problem is deciding which season to visit in…they are all so tempting!

Lastly, Max and I decided to skip presents this year for plane tickets. After much deliberating we have chosen Iceland for our summer vacation and this will serve not only as my new country of the year, but will also hopefully provide many opportunities to improve my travel photography.

Paper vouchers always make promises seem more real, right?

Paper vouchers always make promises seem more real, right?

While that covers about half the year, the rest of the year is still up in the air because as you can see, I need to leave room for spontaneity.

Where are you going in 2014? I would love to hear in the comments! 

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hey B, very jealous about your Iceland trip and looking forward to seeing your photos and posts. I’ve got trips to Belfast, Lille, Bruges and Hannover to look forward to in the first half of the year – they may be foreign countries to me, but distance-wise it’s like you not going outside your state!

    January 3, 2014
    • Thanks, Richard! I am incredibly excited for Iceland! Your destinations all sound fantastic! I am incredibly jealous about Belfast. I did Ireland in 2012, but did not have enough time to make it up to Northern Ireland. Belfast sounds fascinating. I’ll be interested to see what you think about it. I know, your proximity and ease of travel to so many countries is unbelievable. I wish it were a bit closer for me to leave the country – I would be doing the same thing as you!

      January 3, 2014
  2. I love your goals for the coming year! You know I’m with you as far as #take12trips is concerned, but I also feel the same about my travel photography. I really hope I can improve mine too in 2014.

    January 4, 2014
    • Thank you, Clare! The travel photography is something I have especially noticed this past year. Looking forward to see where your #take12trips has you photographing in 2014!

      January 5, 2014
  3. Bridget, such great goals. I am so excited to hear about all of your upcoming trips … especially to Iceland! I’m such Max can help you with your photography goal with his new camera and lessons … its a win-win for you both! Also, I’m with you on getting trips as presents; it’s such a nice excuse to get away and you get the gift of memories, the best kind of present!

    January 5, 2014
    • Thanks, Kimberley! Iceland is definitely the trip I am the most excited for because it seems unlike anywhere else I am going this year! Yes, I am hoping that once Max gets a few photography lessons under his belt that he can teach me some tips and maybe let me use the camera once in a while 😉 Glad you agree with the trips > presents mentality and looking forward to hearing about your upcoming trip to Vegas!

      January 5, 2014
  4. Bridget, your travel goals and plans are wonderful! 🙂 What a cool approach you have taken. I was so glad to see that you plan both domestic and international trips – it’s so good to see the USA in addition to foreign destinations. It really helps to create a great perspective. Wishing you all the best in your great year of travel – can’t wait to read about it and check out your photos. ~Terri

    January 10, 2014
    • Thank you so much, Terri! I love blending international and domestic travel because there are such different perspectives acquired from each. There is still so much of my own country I want to see! Wishing you a wonderful year of travel too. Excited to see where you and James head this year!

      January 11, 2014
  5. Absolutely love his post! And so excited that you’re going to iceland- it’s been on my travel wish for years! I have goals of seeing new states and countries every year too! Last year I checked off Hawaii, Louisiana, and Illinois, as well as Belize!

    March 13, 2014
    • Thanks, Jessica! I’m incredibly excited for Iceland. I have not heard anyone say anything negative about it. I’m glad to hear you share similar goals. Many travelers focus on getting out of the country, but there is still so much of the US I have not seen so I try to make it a priority every year. Your trip to Hawaii looked fantastic! That is still a state that I have yet to make it to, but I think I would love it there!

      March 13, 2014

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